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Soils are named or classified based on their percentage of sand, silt, and clay.  Clay is the smallest particle, followed by silt, and sand is the largest and most grainy.  The smallest particle, clay, holds the most water, and has the least pore space, while the largest particle, sand, has the most air space and the least water holding capacity.  The ideal soil is what they call loam.  It does not contain equal proportions of sand, silt and clay, but the particle contribute equally to the soils properties.  Loam is 40% sand, 40% silt, and 20% clay.  A clay soil contains at least 40% clay, a sandy soil contains at least 87% sand, and a silt soil contains at least 87% silt.  All other soils are variations of those four classes. 



For more information about soil and soil dynamics, please see this video:

For video on how to use the soil texture triangle, please see:

For a guide on how to determine soil texture, please see:

For a video on how to use the above guide to soil texture, please see:

For more information on the visual evaluation of soil structure, see this video:

To download a soil classification manual, please see this link to the pdf from Oklahoma State:



Soil Compaction

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